Water, Water, and No Watch
June 19, 2008 5:22 PM   Subscribe

I've lost or broken my third watch in three months! Help me find a cheap, seawater-proof watch.

I'm a grad student in marine biology, so my hands end up in seawater all the time. This seems to make watches mad. My first two watches were Timex Ironman digital (about $50 from Target). The first one lasted about two years, but the second pooped out after only a month. The third watch was a nice Swatch dial watch, but not waterproof, so in taking it on and off I managed to lose it.

Help me find a watch that is in my tiny budget (under $100, but preferably closer to $50) that can stand up to the ocean! It doesn't need to withstand depth, just a dunking to 2 feet or so.
posted by ilyanassa to Shopping (11 answers total)
I've had a Cashio G-Shock for a long, long time. I can't imagine the watch portion ever breaking -- it's the band you have to worry about. And, as expected, when the band breaks, it costs nearly as much as your original purchase.

I switched from the plastic band to a fabric/Velcro one and it's going on almost two years of daily wear (I never take it off) without succumbing to the elements. The plastic version lasted a couple of months.

Try to find one that you can purchase with the fabric band, otherwise you'll be spending an extra $30 or so to convert when the plastic fails.

As a bonus, mine is solar so I never have to change the batteries. They also have atomic solar versions.
posted by nitsuj at 5:44 PM on June 19, 2008

Er, CASIO, of course. Not "Cashio." Heh. Plus, from the Wiki:

G-Shock is very popular by rescue workers, police, astronauts, firemen and military. According to Mark Bowden's book Blackhawk Down, the DELTA Operators wore G-Shock watches during the combat events of Oct 3rd and 4th. Since then, G-Shocks watches have become very popular with Special Forces groups in both American and other NATO nation units, due to their being "battle tested".
posted by nitsuj at 5:46 PM on June 19, 2008

You said depth doesn't matter, but dive watches are designed to be dunked in seawater.
posted by dersins at 5:57 PM on June 19, 2008

I bought an Aquatech watch for under $10 from Walmart to use as a temporary backup watch when my old one died. I have been using it as a lab timer, and it's been going strong for several years. They have fantastic reviews on the internet.

And if you lose/kill one, it's under $10! They are kind of ugly, though ...
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:26 PM on June 19, 2008

Technomarine makes a good cheap watch for seawater. If you skimp, you will wind up buying watch after watch and paying more in the long run.
posted by Zambrano at 6:54 PM on June 19, 2008

I'd suggest another Timex Ironman, to be honest. I think your second one was just unfortunately a dud. I've worn those watches non stop for the last 12-13? years, and I think I'm only on my 4th? watch. I wear them in the shower, swimming, mucking about outside, etc... I've only given a watch up either because it eventually got scratched beyond being usable, or the battery finally went (I assumed that cracking it open it put in a new battery would make it no longer waterproof.)
posted by cgg at 9:21 PM on June 19, 2008

Kayaker here. If you can't go expensive and Swiss, then the G shock is the watch to go for. Pretty robust and I know a bunch of people who swear by them.
posted by arcticseal at 6:35 AM on June 20, 2008

I love my Casio G-Shock.. I'm on my second one. I broke the band on my first one -- it was one of those plastic resin bands and I broke it playing street hockey. I now have one with a metal band... I get a lot of good complements on it too. I love it because it's waterproof (well technically resistant), looks nice, solar powered, and atomic.
posted by majikstreet at 9:18 AM on June 20, 2008

Thanks all! I had never heard of the G-shock, and I'll give it a go.
posted by ilyanassa at 1:04 PM on June 20, 2008

Sounds like you've already decided, but I'll share this anecdote about the indestructibility of the G-shock in ocean water...

When my brother was young, he lost his G-Shock while swimming in the ocean on vacation, and didn't realize it was gone until later that evening. He and my dad went back out to the beach the next morning, and found it washed ashore, still in perfect working condition. I'm not sure what eventually happened to that watch, but he wore it for many years after that!
posted by everybody polka at 4:14 PM on June 21, 2008

I will say, for AskMeFi posterity, that G-Shock women's watches appear to suck.
a) Infantile name - Baby G. BLECHHH.
b) No solar powered options!
c) Only 2 atomic options
d) Hideous shades of pink and baby blue

They're also only water resistant to 100 meters, as opposed to men's 200, though since the safe depth for recreational diving is about 40 meters, this isn't too relevant. (I do dive professionally, but with a specialized dive computer, not my wristwatch.) So I'll be getting the a men's version - no problem for me since I've got large wrists and hands. But small-wristed women are SOL, and I've developed something of a gag reflex for Casio.
posted by ilyanassa at 5:21 PM on June 21, 2008

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